Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice 2011 at Stonehenge, How To Access Grounds and More

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge 2011

The Winter Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to be there. It's an ad hoc celebration that brings together England's New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans, Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travelers and party people - 100's of them!
For many the impulse to arrive at Stonehenge in time for the Solstice is a little like all those people drawn to the strange rock in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It's akin to a spiritual experience. Anyone who has witnessed the crowd become silent as the sky begins to brighten can attest to that.

Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2011
Stonehenge is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset (opposed to New Grange, which points to the winter solstice sunrise, and the Goseck circle, which is aligned to both the sunset and sunrise). It is thought that the Winter Solstice was actually more important to the people who constructed Stonehenge than the Summer Solstice. The Winter Solstice was a time when most cattle were slaughtered (so they would not have to be fed during the winter) and the majority of wine and beer was finally fermented.The exact time for the Winter Solstice is December 21st, 11.39pm (UK time). The sunset on the 21st is at 3.53pm and the sunrise on the 22nd of December at 8.04am.

English Heritage on Stonehenge on Winter Solstice

English Heritage have confirmed that the winter solstice will be celebrated on Thursday 22 December 2011 and this will be through managed open access, which is free to those who wish to celebrate at this time. Sunrise will be at approximately 08:09 hrs.

Visitors will be allowed into the Monument when it is considered sufficiently light to ensure safe access. Entry will be available from approximately 07:30 hrs until 09:00 hrs when visitors will be asked to vacate the site.

Please note that access might not be possible if the ground conditions are poor or if it is felt that access might result in severe damage to the Monument.

Limited facilities are available at Stonehenge for the duration of the access although these facilities will not be available prior to access commencing (this includes the toilets). The cafe at Stonehenge will be open from 08:00 hrs.
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